ABI caught up with Margy Murphy of Haw Creek Forge. This production studio, headed by her sister Catherine Murphy, has a long history of success.
ABI: What have you learned about finding your market?
MM: Over the years and many wholesale shows, we have learned the best markets for the Haw Creek Forge copper garden sculptures continues to be with galleries and high end gift shops.
The buyers and shops that will take the time and interest in talking about handmade work and appreciate the experience of made in America, will communicate the value of our work and create a consistent following of customers.
ABI: To what do you attribute Haw Creek Forge’s success?
MM: After many years of exhibiting at juried retail shows across the country we became successful by providing great customer service, paying attention to which products were good sellers, being willing to drop the non-sellers (sometimes this is hard to do!), finding the price points that would sell and having an attractive and easy to shop display.
As a business, Haw Creek Forge can attribute its success to the dedicated team of artisans we have. Catherine Murphy, the artist and owner has learned that her most important job is to design and create new work, leaving the production, administration, marketing and shipping to a small team of people that take their tasks seriously and with pride. Catherine has seen that as an artist she cannot wear all the hats and thus trusts the crew to keep the business thriving.
ABI: Could you explain your process?
MM: Catherine is inspired by the nature surrounding her, and also by our customers’ ideas and requests. With an inspiration or suggestion she will begin researching by looking through nature books, finding the correct anatomical details, sometimes putting the idea on paper, finding the right scale and creates several prototypes.
At this point she will gather input from the team and begins tweaking. If it is a production item it is passed on to the production manager that will make the piece production friendly.
ABI: What one-of-a-kind commissions have you worked on?
MM: The largest commission is a mountain scene created for the local hospital and is 20 feet by 20 feet hanging on an outdoor wall 6 stories high. This was a many months long project and involved a sculpture artist, engineers and installers.
Another project for the same hospital was to decorate a 100 feet corridor using the Haw Creek Forge production line as well as one of a kind Ginkgo Tree and a Dogwood Tree. Both trees are free standing 6 feet tall sculptures. Creating projects for new homes has given Catherine the chance to design and craft several pieces including lighting pendants using the fold forming techniques.
Smaller projects can be a collection of the copper wall sculptures Catherine is famous for or large designs of our production items.